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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2016, Article ID 3587569, 11 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2016/3587569
Research Article

Prior to Conception: The Role of an Acupuncture Protocol in Improving Women’s Reproductive Functioning Assessed by a Pilot Pragmatic Randomised Controlled Trial

1School of Science & Health, Western Sydney University, Locked Bag 1797, Penrith, NSW 2751, Australia
2National Institute of Complementary Medicine, Western Sydney University, Locked Bag 1797, Penrith, NSW 2751, Australia
3School of Social Science & Psychology, Western Sydney University, Locked Bag 1797, Penrith, NSW 2751, Australia

Received 23 September 2015; Revised 25 February 2016; Accepted 30 March 2016

Academic Editor: Kieran Cooley

Copyright © 2016 Suzanne Cochrane et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

The global average of couples with fertility problems is 9%. Assisted reproductive technologies are often inaccessible. Evidence points to acupuncture offering an opportunity to promote natural fertility. This study asked whether providing a multiphasic fertility acupuncture protocol to women with sub/infertility would increase their awareness of fertility and achieve normalisation of their menstrual cycle compared with a lifestyle control. In a pragmatic randomised controlled trial sub/infertile women were offered an intervention of acupuncture and lifestyle modification or lifestyle modification only. There was a statistically significant increase in fertility awareness in the acupuncture group (86.4%, 19) compared to 40% () of the lifestyle only participants (Relative Risk (RR) 2.38, 95% confidence interval (CI) of 1.25, 4.50), with an adjusted value of 0.011. Changes in menstrual regularity were not statistically significant. There was no statistical difference in the pregnancy rate with seven women (adjusted ) achieving pregnancy during the course of the study intervention. Those receiving the acupuncture conceived within an average of 5.5 weeks compared to 10.67 weeks for the lifestyle only group (). The acupuncture protocol tested influenced women who received it compared to women who used lifestyle modification alone: their fertility awareness and wellbeing increased, and those who conceived did so in half the time.